Regional Toolkit on Nationality Legislation

Authored by: League of Arab States

Categories: Human Rights
Sub-Categories: Access to Justice and Rule of Law, Democratization and Political Participation, Economic Participation, Human Development
Region: Middle East and North Africa
Year: 2021
Citation: "Regional Toolkit on Nationality Legislation." League of Arab States. May 2021.

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Executive Summary

In February of 2018, the Ministerial Conference on Belonging and Legal Identity convened by the League of Arab States (LAS) under the patronage of the President of Tunisia adopted the Arab Declaration on Belonging and Legal Identity. One of the central recommendations of LAS member States reflected in the Declaration was that the LAS Secretariat should produce a Regional Toolkit on Nationality Legislation to help ensure that all persons in the region enjoy their right to a nationality. The strong and clear commitment of the Arab League to gender equality, and to belonging and legal identity, provides the basis for this Regional Toolkit on Nationality Legislation. The Declaration builds on longstanding traditions in the Arab region which recognize the right of all children to belong, to enjoy rights to family life and unity, and to have a name and legal identity. In fact, Islam was one of the frontrunners in providing international protection from persecution and recognizing this as a fundamental human right, and many tenets of the faith help ensure that the most vulnerable are never denied of protection, thereby ensuring that everyone belongs. Capitalizing on this enduring tradition as well as recent developments, many countries in the region have enacted domestic measures to better protect women, children and families, including in relation to their rights to nationality, documentation and family unity. Notably, significant nationality law reforms have been enacted across the region to grant women the right to confer nationality to their children on an equal basis as men. This Toolkit on Nationality Legislation aims to build on the important work of the Arab League and reflect it in a technical legal document containing the most favorable provisions on nationality in line with international standards, which may be used by LAS member States to facilitate the possible updating or amending of their nationality laws. It is recommended that any change in law be accompanied by corresponding measures to implement the law in the form of the development of necessary regulations and directives, along with awareness-raising, publicity, training and capacity building for relevant stakeholders such as judges, local leaders and civil society. As such, the updating of legislation is most effective when accompanied by meaningful action to ensure its full implementation.